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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Complete DISASTER. . .

Race report for Cache Valley Classic Triathlon:

The weather has been questionable all week which caused me to seriously reconsider even participating in this event.  On Saturday morning as I left the house at 6:10 AM the wind was brewing and the storm clouds were coming in. . . but onward I forged, picked up my packet, set up my assigned area, went for "body-marking" Then dressed up in this charming outfit!

after wiggling, stuffing stretching, and pulling my wet-suit, swim socks, and swim bonnet on.   I think I know what it would feel like to be a seal. . . a big blubbery blob!   I then headed over to the lake, the air temp was at about 52°f - - again I wondered if I was making the right decision in continuing forward with this adventure, the water temp of Hyrum Dam was only 56°f this morning!  With all the cold non-summery weather we have been blessed with, (I mean seriously, I still haven't had to water the grass) so that officially counts as a blessing. . . right?

As I looked at the choppy water and the trees swaying in the wind, curiosity took over. . . I wanted to know if this wet-suit thing that made me look like a bloated seal and the swim socks were going to work.  Following the advice I had gained from talking to others get in the water and get used to the water temperature, so when it's time to start you don't have the wind knocked out of you, thus I did, bravery taking over about 6 minutes before the race started. . .  dunk, gasp. . . gasp. . . gasp, dunk, a little better, but still whoa, that water was cooolld!  then I noticed someone purposely letting water down inside thier wet suit.  While I thought this was a good idea because it would inevitably happen anyway I followed suit. . . . AHHHHH that was C-C-C-OOOOO-LLLLL-D-D! turns out the wet suit is a good idea once that water warmed up next to my body the cold water was no longer an issue for the next 10-15 minutes I was attempting to swim in the water.

With the weather, or better noted water temps being what they were, I determined it would be in my best interest to do what I could to be prepared, so on Monday I found a swim bonnet to keep my noggin from freezing and swim socks to keep me feet and toes from going numb, and had them express mailed.  I received them on Thursday evening.  This was definitely a good move.  I tried getting a camera here too, but that didn't work so swell. . . however, that is another story for another day.  I have been able to periodically get my existing camera to work on occasion which is how there are a few pics here from the actual event. . . the others were taken today.
this odd little purchase was well worth the investment, in fact I am considering using the socks on most open water swims.  It feels kind of cool to walk in these with the textured/rubberized feet bottoms and not only did they keep my feet warm, but clean too.  No tender feet from walking on rocks and sand commonly found on lake shores, then at transition I didn't have to clean off the dirt and mud and sand to put my socks and shoes on. . . totally awesome!

While the water WAS indeed COLD, that wasn't my biggest problem. . .

. . . the wind was

in addition to being cold, the water was choppy, which isn't quite descriptive enough, there were actual waves out there, and I literally freaked!  I struggled for a good 10 minutes with the waves hitting me in the face and I couldn't make myself breathe, or swim or backstroke, or breaststroke, or any stroke for that matter, as everyone else kept getting further and further away from me.  I kept telling myself that I survived spudman, after similar reaction to this reality of "open-water" swimming.  It didn't help that my goggles kept fogging up.   All this pep talk to self wasn't working, the cold water coupled with the waves were more than I could handle, then with my last effort of determination to once again move in a forward direction I was slapped in the face with a big wave of water and in came a log , well okay it was only a little twig, but it might as well been a full size tree limb.   Ejecting/spitting/choking the stick was finally expelled as I thought to myself there are more exotic places to drown than Hyrum Dam!  So less than half way to the first buoy I bailed.  There was one other participant, who bailed a few minutes before I did, as I watched him heading back to shore, I think I gained courage, or should I call it wussiness from his example.

Translation:  It is imperative that I practice swimming in lakes and other uncontrolled environments!  Note to self:  Work on that, will you.

after being pulled to safety by way of kayak, and was safely on shore I chided myself for being such a wuss! then decided to watch the remaining 113 participants finish the swim.   It was while watching the swimmers that I decided to finish the remainder of the event.  I just sort of merged in with the exiting athletes.  As I got to the top of the boat ramp a volunteer who was directing athlete traffic was congratulating me, I informed him that I bailed on the swim i.e. I wussed out, his response was that "he didn't know that so don't tell anyone, they won't know"  It was at this point I truly decided to kick it in gear for the bike.  It put a skip in my step for certain, I was grateful he was there, with the attitude he had!

I have never been one to think of numbers being a bad omen,
after today I may re-consider the idea.  This was my bib number!

 Body marking. . . this is the age of the participant. . . my legs look sooo FAT!
 complete with sun lines left behind
from my 58 miler on the bike last week.
the "O" means olympic distance
those peeps doing the sprint
distance were marked with an "S"

I probably didn't need to worry about body marking today, it was cold and I rode and ran in long pants and long sleeves, but not everyone did, in reality I should have shed the pants for the run, as it warmed to a perfect temp in the low 70's by the time I finished the race.

gear carefully arranged on towel, ready for quick changes between sports
The wet-suit is in the bag, I haven't put it on quite yet

much improved over last year, and I added taking a wet-suit and swim socks off into the mix.  I still need to get faster and more streamlined but felt good overall about cutting my T1 time in half from last year.

The bike was awesome.  As soon as I was on my bike I settled right in and felt comfortable.  This is my element, and I could feel the confidence surge through me, I like being on my bike.  On the bike I would have been 5th overall for the women. I averaged 17.1 mph with a cadence of 86. . . I couldn't have been happier with those numbers!  That's pretty cool in my mind.  I think I could have been faster had I not run 6 miles up the canyon followed by a hard 16 mile bike the previous day.  My legs were still a little tired.  But even before the swim, this was not a race I was looking for a great time.  The purpose of this race was to practice all this triathlon stuff.  I'm glad I did it, as it served it's purpose well.

Setting up transition area, bike on bike rack

Again, I was happy about a much improved transition from last year and will continue to work on even faster in and out procedures, but feel like I am getting the "hang" of it all.

The run was a little rough, mentally. One thing that made it hard is that the road, yup, this is the very same road we ran down, it went FOREVER, and you can see no end!  I much prefer twists and turns to break up the monotony of where I am going.  It was also hard because it took me so long to decide that I paid for this race and I might as well do the bike and run anyway,  I knew I was going to be dead last finishing, adding that I am a slow runner coupled with low participation it was kind of discouraging.  Adding to the mix that I honestly don't LOVE running like I do riding my bike,  I mentally battled the fact that because of the swim, this "stupid" run didn't matter anyway. . .  I seriously considered turning around at the sprint turnaround (1 1/2 miles), but chastised myself in advance for bailing on two parts of this race.  And once again RAGNAR was calling me to finish!  As the inner battle in my head continued,  I needed the run as preparation and training for the Wasatch Back next week and I did pay the event fee for the opportunity to complete this part too.  People were very kind and super encouraging.  as the runners were coming back (it was an out and back route) they would tell me "good job" and "keep going", "you're almost there", "I was doing great", "it's all downhill on the way back (Which was an absolutely true statement)".  to a small degree, it's these words of support and encouragement that kept me going.  Event volunteers were the same.  at mile 1.5 as the volunteer passing out water and diluted powerade was telling me how incredible I was, I graciously noted that I was not really that incredible, I'm dead last!, but thanked her for pretending with me anyway.  We both laughed, and onward I went.  As I got to the turnaround point and was headed back, lo-and-behold there was another guy lumbering down the road. . . I wasn't dead last after-all, that perked me up just a tad as I gave my own words of encouragement to the guy going the opposite direction as I was.  So the run was slow as I only averaged 11:40 min/mile, far short of my recent avg of 10:10 min/mile.  But I finished and was happy about that.

6th Annual TriUtah Cache Valley Classic Triathlon
All FEMALE participants for Olympic race distance


Annette B

Final Time
Time Back


For kicks and giggles I checked to see what they did with my times.  I was curious if I would get a DQ, DNF, or a DNS.  My theory is that because I jumped in with the exiting swimmers where/like I did and that the kayaker took me to shore rather than the boat ramp, I think they assumed that somehow my timing chip didn't pick up out of the water and they counted my entrance into the transition area as my finishing swim time and picked up from there.  At this point I was more than grateful I was last, I would have felt bad coming in front of anyone else.  I was just excited that I was given official times for the bike, T2, and the run.  What more could I have asked for, and I don't have a DQ next to my name.  As that never looks exciting.  As it turned out I was THE ONLY  woman in my age group that participated in this event.  I heard several participants say that registration was down by by about half from previous years and they speculated the weather scared them off.  I can't say I blame them, it almost scared me off too.

Next year:  I will conquer the swim!

After getting to safe ground (meaning out of the water) I meandered over to the main body of spectators and talked to a few peeps there while we were watching the swimmers.
  • one was a woman who is currently training for an Ironman, an experienced triathlete, her husband was competing
  • the second person was actually after the event as we were cleaning up, both her and her husband have been doing triathlons for nine years!
  • the third was a couple who's car wouldn't start and I was giving them a jump start.
  • the last significant person I talked to said her husband who was competing, had come to the lake the previous two days and it took several practice sessions of 6-7 minutes in the water then out, repeated several times, before he felt like he could swim without panicking. . .  very encouraging!  I wonder if I would have gotten in the water sooner if I couldn't have gotten past where I was at during the race?
In talking to them about the day, I discovered a couple of things about my decision and the water conditions which made me feel better.
What I Learned About Today:
  1. The water was ROUGH by all reports, but once the swimmers got around the first buoy it calmed slightly.  Those that I talked to encouraged me to simply practice in open water!
  2. None of them thought I was a wuss, and all three actually complemented me in my decision to admit I wasn't ready for these conditions putting logic and safety first.
  3. They thought it was awesome that I decided to complete the rest of the race after a bad swim and with a late start on the bike.
  4. To the The couple I was talking with as we were cleaning up our gear I made the general statement that I wondered what an ocean swim would be like?  The response was “This was as close as you could get”  It was a rough swim!
  5. While disappointed, I’m glad I handled it the way I did.  Knowing what needs to happen (practice in open water swimming) I can work on that!
While we cannot often change circumstances, we can conquer and overcome challenges to rise to success.  Each adventure comes with an element of learned wisdom and experience that no one can take from you.  I have some of that after today.

Coming Home: The Next Phase of the Day:

 The house looks like a Tsunami tore through it.  I was supposed to be to work at noon, but didn't get home until 12:15, I didn't want all my wet soggy stuff sitting around for the next 9-plus hours so I tore it off and pulled it all out of my duffel bag, laying it all on the floor to air/dry out while I was gone.  (Just for the record I was at work by 1:00).  In addition to work I still had a run planned afterwards to help prepare for the Wasatch Back next weekend so it would be well after 10:00 PM before I could get to it.  As it turned out I left it there, just like this until Sunday.  Sometimes it's good to live alone. . . you can have days like this and I'm the only one it effects. . .  That can be a bonus on days like today.

This has been a great week for training, logging 11 hrs 24 minutes training time.  I have continued to make great progress on the yard, and it was a good productive week at work.   I'm happy, happy that this is behind me.  With that said, I'm glad Sunday is a rest from your labors day. . . I truly appreciated this designated day of rest.  Beyond church, I took a nap, talked to the genius, cleaned up the tsunami, and pretty much did nothing all day.

Next Up:  Wasatch Back:  (RAGNAR Relay)



  1. I have been wondering how your TRI went!! I am so glad that you keep your blog so detailed so I know! I am proud of you! You rock riding buddy! A-

  2. thanks A! I'm soooo looking forward to a ride have you decided when we are taking turns pulling that cute little bug of yours?

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